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The Air Force Historical Research Agency is the repository for Air Force historical documents. The Agency's collection, begun in Washington, DC, during World War II, moved in 1949 to Maxwell Air Force Base, the site of Air University, to provide research facilities for professional military education students, the faculty, visiting scholars, and the general public. It consists today of over 100,000,000 pages devoted to the history of the service, and represents the world's largest and most valuable organized collection of documents on US military aviation.
More than 90% of the Agency's pre-1955 holdings are declassified. The Agency's collection is also recorded on 16mm microfilm, with microfilm copies deposited at the National Archives and Records Administration and the Air Force Historical Studies Office (AFHSO), Anacostia Naval Annex, Washington D.C.
Because our collection consists of invaluable one-of-a-kind documents, we ask that patrons observe the following rules:
The Agency's collection is currently available for access by visiting the Agency or purchasing the documents on CD.
Patrons are welcome to submit requests in writing or emails for documents held at the Agency. See the section Archival Requests and Freedom of Information Act Requests.
The Agency shares Building 1405 with the Air University Library, located in the middle of Chennault Circle at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama.
Potential visitors to the AFHRA are very strongly encouraged to contact the Agency to let us know when you plan to arrive and how long you plan to stay. We will attempt to accommodate all visitors, but security is tight and "drop-in" visitors may be denied entry, at least until the Agency staff can make the appropriate arrangements.
Researchers are required to register at the Maxwell Visitors Center prior to entering the base. Identification Required: U.S.Government ID, a valid drivers license, and proof of automobile insurance.
Unclassified documents in the Agency are available to the public and there is no need for special authorization to use them.
Many of the Agency's holdings have been, or are now, subject to security classification under the Department of Defense Information Security Program. If your research involves classified material, you will need to provide proper evidence of an appropriate security clearance and authorization (need to know).
The Agency cannot copy documents for either official or unofficial purposes. It will make available copying equipment for researchers engaged in official US Government projects as well as a coin-operated machine for persons engaged in private research. Patrons are advised to bring their own change.
The Agency does not provide photographic services to researchers. However, researchers who visit the Agency may bring their own photographic equipment to copy photographs contained in the documents, provided the documents will not be damaged in the process. A light stand is available for patron use.